A new report has established that Brighton’s polluted roads could be to blame for more than 2,000 deaths in the city.
According to the report, more than 2,000 people will die of air pollution related causes over the next 12 years, with much of that coming from Brighton and Hove’s traffic-jammed roads.
The claim was made in a report commissioned by Green MEP and ex-Brighton Councillor, Keith Taylor. The Polluted Cities report was released on Monday (17th July) and made some arguably bold claims.
During a public meeting held at the Brighthelm Centre, Mr Taylor criticised the government for their lack of action in such areas, claiming their plan to tackle the problem was inadequate.
The former Councillor said: “The government is standing idly by while the city chokes. This feeble plan won’t go anywhere near far enough in tackling a public health emergency that is linked to 175 deaths in the city every year.”
He also raised concerns over more vulnerable members of society, “You’re far more likely to suffer if you’re young or old and/or if you live in poverty.”
According to Mr Taylor, almost half of the sites monitored for air quality levels in the Brighton & Hove area are currently exceeding the EU legal limit for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution.
Brighton’s areas experiencing the worst air pollution include: North Street and the Clock Tower, London Road near Oxford Street and Cheapside near Pelham Street.
NO2 is one of two key air pollutants linked to motor vehicles.
It’s not just Brighton that’s suffering however, with areas across the UK experience high levels of air pollution. Across Britain 29,000 deaths are linked to pollutants every year, according to Mr Taylor.
The University of Brighton are making progress towards monitoring air pollutants with the people working on the project showing Mr Taylor around their scheme. On Monday Dr Smallbone and her colleague Kevin Wyche showed Mr Taylor the university’s ground-breaking air quality monitoring station, which is being partially funded by the EU.
Mr Taylor was impressed with the work being done to tackle pollution issues saying they were pushing the boundaries of particulate matter pollution analysis with their research into ultrafine particles. There is no requirement in place to measure these particles currently however they have some of the most damaging affects on the body.
The Polluted Cities report hopes to outline Mr Taylor and the Green Party’s plans to tackle air quality issues in Brighton and elsewhere.
Some proposals for Brighton and Hove included: Encouraging alternatives to diesel fuel, more assistance for taxi drivers to replace their diesel vehicles, improved enforcement of engine idling regulations.
The Green MEP finished with this: “Clean air isn’t a luxury, it’s a basic human right. All around Britain, in our towns and cities, people live and work while breathing in dangerous and illegal levels of air pollution”.